“It really was one sale by one sale, and that's always how we've run our business. It's been kinda these thought out small steps to get where we were going,” said Ashley Castanos of Daughters of Simone.
Founded by sisters Brittany and Ashley Castanos. Their business is all about your big day.
“Most of our designs will have some sort of 1970s vintage element to them,” said Ashley Castanos.
From the delicate lace, to the body skimming silhouettes and open backs, these dresses are exactly what the sisters imagined for themselves...And knew there were other women who wanted the same.
"We're the daughters of her that are trying to change the way people view the wedding dress"
“When I thought about it, I was like 'well if I found somebody that I fell in love with and wanted to spend my life with what would that look like for me?” Brittany Castanos said.
So they began thrifting – making over dresses they found and selling them on sites like Etsy, and the response was overwhelming.
“The first collection was really inspired and developed after all of these vintage styles were selling and brides were figuring out there was only one of each of these dresses, and so Brittany sketched up her first nine or 10 designs based on these vintage styles,” Ashley Castanos said.
And what about that name? It's inspired by the philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir.
“We're the daughters of her that are trying to change the way people view the wedding dress,” said Brittany Castanos.
That change is evident. Now their designs are sold in more than 50 bridal boutiques nationwide.And the traditional bridal industry is paying attention. This past fall, the sisters held their first major New York runway show.
“That was an amazing moment. Both of us pretty much had panic attacks in the back going ‘why did we sign up for this? This is terrifying,” Brittany Castanos said.
It may have been scary, but it was worth it. By all accounts, the dresses were a hit, and not long after they struck a deal with Revolve – one of the most popular and exclusive online retailers right now.
Okeefe gown, designed by Daughters of Simone
“This is our Okeefe gown. This is one of the designs we did for our exclusive Revolve collection,” Brittany Castanos said.
All of it coming from their Fresno headquarters – a house in the Tower District that seems the perfect fit for this laid back line.
And keeping that connection to their hometown is important.
“I think I appreciate being from here because it is like you're proud to have accomplished what you've accomplished with your roots here, and your family here and and everyone is so supportive they've seen you grow up your whole life,” Brittany Castanos said.
A house is also headquarters for Bri Seltzer – who works designing, making and selling her jewelry line – at Five and Two
“It's an adventure that changes every day. You never know what you're gonna make.”
“This is a project I'm working on it's actually the bracelet I'm wearing so it's one of those statement pieces,” said Seltzer.
A Fresno State grad, Seltzer always loved accessories and thought she just might be able to turn that passion into a business.
"It's an adventure that changes every day"
“It's an adventure that changes every day. You never know what you're gonna make, and sometimes you know exactly what you're gonna make because of the trends,” said Seltzer.
The name Five and Two refers to a Bible story about Jesus multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands.
“It's just like a daily reminder for me that God’s blessed me with an amazing company and talent – and that if I trust him and do this hopefully he'll help other people,” said Seltzer.
Jewelry designed by Five and Two
The line has continued to grow – selling between 130,000 to 150,000 pieces a year, and now they're partnered with retailers like Anthropologie and have even made it into some of their catalogs.
Seltzer said the first time she saw her things for sale at Nordstrom “I couldn't help but cry. I was like 'I can't believe this is actually happening – like our jewelry is in No.’ So that was a really exciting experience.”
And so while their work may be very different, they really do have a lot in common – a love to create, a passion for hard work, and roots right here in Fresno.
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